Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How this right-wing nut came to vote for Romney

I voted for Mitt Romney last week during early voting. To be completely honest, if you had told me that I would vote for Romney last year, I would have laughed at you. It took me a long time to make that decision, and I did not make the decision lightly.

I also spent some time debating about how publicly I was willing to discuss my vote. Considering that one of the major services I provide for my political clients is paying attention to what teh internets are saying, I'm well aware that Romney is not popular in certain circles. However, there are a number of points I'd like to share.

If you haven't voted yet and this helps you make up your mind, wonderful. If you disagree with me and support a different candidate, that's also wonderful. Gotta love living in a free country!

Anyway, here's a few of the issues that factored into my vote...

I want to make Barack Obama a full-time golfer. It starts and ends there with me. The number one goal is to make Obama a one-term president. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum would all be much better presidents than the current officeholder.

Unicorns aren't real. I completely understand the disappointment that many share that [insert favorite candidate here] didn't run. I wanted Mitch Daniels to run, but he never entered, loved Tim Pawlenty but he dropped out before the game had hardly begun, was impressed with Rick Perry when he entered the race but....sigh. Herman Cain seemed exciting at first, but ran a terrible campaign that I'm honestly surprised survived as long as it did.

I figured I had two choices: (1) continue to whine about what "might have been," or (2) accept reality, evaluate the candidates who remained, and fight like heck for whoever I felt was best. After Cain dropped out and Perry fell apart, I started from scratch in my evaluations of the remaining candidates.

I did a lot of reading, went to events, and called up people I knew who were supporting certain candidates to hear their thoughts. (For those of you who were kind enough to share your thoughts with me, I greatly appreciate it. Even if I did not end up supporting your candidate, I respect your choice.)

I spent more time researching, analyzing, and debating these candidates than in any election before in my lifetime. That's why I can't help but laugh at some of the comments on Twitter and elsewhere calling me a "sellout."

There are a lot of distortions and misrepresentations flying around about all the candidates (like the complete load of bat guano that Gingrich tossed out regarding non-existent Crist connections to Romney), but there are a few specifically regarding Romney that ought to be reexamined. Has Romney taken positions more moderate than I would prefer in the past? Yep. Is he a dishonest liberal Manchurian candidate engaged in a scheme to pull the wool over our eyes? Get real.

This is already shaping up to be a long post so I won't go step by step through every element of Romney's record, but considering he was dealing with an 85% Democratic legislature in a bluer-than-blue state, he did a remarkable job. Go look up for yourself the spending and tax cuts he made and the work he did to balance Massachusetts' budget.

There is a lot to be said about the value of executive experience. That is a large part of why I was hopeful that Daniels, Pawlenty, or Perry would succeed - there is an intensely worthwhile education that comes from having to make the day-to-day decisions to run a state or large business enterprise, and Romney has done both. Add in his incredible work with the Salt Lake City Olympic games, and this is a man who truly understands how to solve complex problems, find efficiencies, and manage people and projects. I have no doubt in my mind that he is ready to hit the ground running as President.

I'm not going to defend Romneycare. I hate it. Hate, hate, hate. Just remember that Romney was dealing with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature who were determined to push it through and it was a very popular with people in Massachusetts. His choices were to roll over and play dead, or engage in the process and try to incorporate some conservative principles into the bill. (Remember the squabbling during the debates - Romney really did draw ideas from the Heritage Foundation, not exactly a liberal institution.)

On the issue of Romney allegedly appointing "liberal pro-choice" judges, people are missing the point about the different roles judges play. The vast majority don't rule on abortion cases. Governors make most of these appointments for judges to handle criminal cases and minor civil matters. So, a judge might be a registered Democratic voter (completely understandable in Massachusetts) and profess to be pro-choice, but actually be very conservative and tough on crime. (There's apparently one Romney appointee who is so hard-nosed that the local criminal defense bar has nicknamed him "The Hammer" - not exactly a "liberal" judge!)

Now, regarding the life issue, this is something that is personally very important to me, and both Romney and Gingrich have been all over the place in what they've said. But talk is cheap. I went and looked at what actions they actually took, and I am completely comfortable with my support for Romney. When it came time to take action to protect life, Romney did the right thing. He vetoed an embryonic stem cell research bill that had heavy support in that Democrat-run legislature and was very popular in his state. In contrast, Gingrich has shifted his definition of when life begins to "after implantation," which allows for the destruction of embryonic stem cells in research, and he has even fought for federal funding of that kind of research.

Here's more information about Romney's pro-life record from former Ambassador and pro-life advocate Mary Ann Glendon:

Glendon makes an excellent point: isn't the goal of the pro-life movement to change hearts and minds? Isn't it a wonderful thing that Romney, who made numerous pro-choice statements during his campaign, was able to change his mind in time to make the right decisions as Governor? Is that flip-flopping or reforming?

Electability matters. I don't evaluate the dreaded "electability" word the way that many on our side do. I do not believe that it only applies to moderates (although that was certainly how the word was used to argue for John McCain's candidacy). Exhibit A for me is and always will be Marco Rubio. Charlie Crist was supposed to be more electable because he was more moderate, but the voters didn't trust him. Rubio ran as an unapologetic conservative, and ended up getting almost half of the votes in a bitterly fought three way primary.

The answer, in my opinion, is that electability lies in not necessarily moderating a candidate's positions or values, but in being conscious and strategic about how those positions and values translate to the general voting population. Ronald Reagan, and Rubio after him, both won their elections not by abandoning their principles, but by presenting a positive argument that drew new people to support them.

In my opinion, Romney is more "electable" than Gingrich because his messaging style is far more likely to get independents, moderates, and conservative Democrats to listen to our ideas. Gingrich is excellent at getting grassroots conservatives fired up, and trust me, I share the angst - if not outright anger - that many of you are feeling. There is a shared joy in watching Newt lick his chops after chewing some debate moderator to bits.

But I'll say it - life ain't fair - and Gingrich's unfavorables among independents and Democrats are so dangerously high so as to present a nearly insurmountable hurdle for him in the general election. Remember, Americans already know Newt Gingrich. He's been on the front pages of newspapers since I was in high school. Public opinion of him is not likely to drastically change.

Romney Central Florida Field Director Pablo Pantoja
and Ann Romney's brother Rod Davies
I'll turn next to another loaded phrase: "presidential temperment." There is an incredibly long list of people who are friends with Romney or who have worked with him, and speak extremely highly of him, talking about how great his judgment is, how brilliant he is at solving complicated problems, what a great businessman he is, but also how warm, and kindhearted he is.

Ann Romney's brother Rod Davies was in town this week and stopped in a pizza restaurant near my parents' house. We went by and enjoyed hearing stories from a man who has known Romney since they were all children. It was a great informal gathering, and Mr. Davies shared a number of stories with us, about what the Romney's courtship, marriage, and family life has been like (talk about your inspirational American story), and more details about Romney's business background (how he refused to take any money from his father, the work he did at the Olympics, some of the Bain Capital successes that are getting lost in the the press, etc.).

Contrast that with Gingrich; the picture is far more muddied. Everyone agrees he's the "smartest guy in the room," and I will be the first to say that Washington needs to be shaken up, but I am not convinced that Gingrich's bull in a china shop methods are the right way to go.

I would like to go ahead and point out that the circumstances around the ethics charges against Gingrich are being distorted (Byron York has an excellent article at the Washington Examiner), but one of the main issues is being missed by both sides. Yes, the ethics charges don't seem that serious when you look into them, but the bigger problem was Gingrich's relationship with his colleagues in Congress. One expects partisan infighting, but Gingrich's leadership style as Speaker of the House had been so combative, chaotic, and volatile, that his own party had lost faith in him. Those ethics charges would never have gone as far as they did if his own fellow Republicans hadn't turned their backs on him.

Go look up for yourself what Gingrich's contemporaries said about him. This goes far beyond disagreements over budget cuts or policies; this was a erosion of faith in his leadership. Some of the reasons underlying Obama's shortcomings are his inability to work with even members of his own party in Congress to get things done. I fear Gingrich would face similar troubles.

Both Gingrich supporters and opponents point to his overwhelming number of ideas, but this is a double edged sword. Someone described it to me like this, "Gingrich has ten ideas all at once. Five of them will be ok, three of them will be fantastic, but at least two of them will have the potential to instantly bring about the end of the world."

I can't help but agree with this assessment. I love the idea he presented in an early debate about having people who are collecting unemployment have to attend vocational education classes. Wonderful! Then the taxpayers are reassured that their money is not just being sent to someone sitting on a couch, and best of all, the person who lost their job has an opportunity to learn new skills and better themselves. That's a win-win in my book.

But then there was his idea about hauling judges before Congress and making them testify about their rulings. As an attorney, I feel this would undermine our justice system and strongly oppose it. Think about it this way: would you want Obama to have this power over Justice Alito? I didn't think so. And don't get me started on the moon colony silliness.

Then there's what I call my "worst case scenario" method of decision making. You don't insure your house for a broken window. You insure for the chance it burns to the ground. So, let's play a game and do that with the presidential candidates. Let's, for argument's sake, assume that the worst that is said about both Romney and Gingrich is true. 

So, if we assume the worst that's said about Romney: he's a moderate and he just wants to be reelected. Well, if we send Romney to Washington with a conservative House and Senate, he will have to play along if he wants a second term as President. And look back at the 1990s: Bill Clinton, a moderate Democrat president, plus a conservative Congress brought us a balanced budget and welfare reform. That wasn't terrible. Let's be realistic - if Congress sends Romney an Obamacare repeal bill, is he really going to veto it? I think not.

[Note: I realize I'm assuming we will keep the House and win back the Senate. In my opinion, doing those two things is actually more important than winning the White House, but that's a post for another day...]

Regarding Gingrich, the worst that is said about him...well, that's a longer list, even if you exclude all former Mrs. Gingriches. He's temperamental, quick to judge, easily agitated, and not known for playing well with others. There is also a deep running dislike for organization and discipline that I feel handicaps him. Exhibit A: the Virginia ballot. Exhibit B: his slow start setting up a ground game in many of the crucial early primary states, including Florida. Over 600,000 Floridians voted before today, either through an absentee ballot or by early voting. How many of those voters did Gingrich have the time or resources to contact? This lack of discipline could be catastrophic against the Obama Billion Dollar Campaign Machine.

Also I can't help but think that Gingrich reminds me of the dog from the movie Up that would be in the middle of a sentence and then - "SQUIRREL!" - he would get distracted. As someone who has some mild ADD tendencies myself, I see very serious warning signs in the way that Gingrich has run his life and I do have serious doubts that he does have the proper temperment to be president. I've observed Gingrich several times in speeches, telephone town halls, and forums listen to someone suggest an idea and then immediately seem very invested in chasing after it. Not all ideas are good, and even the good ones sometimes ought to be weighed carefully before doing them.

Mom and I in front of "Florida is
Romney Country" banner
On the matter of temperment, I will admit that I have been concerned watching Romney "play it safe" in many of the debates last year. He seemed, at times, to be on auto-pilot. However, the campaign got a much-needed reboot as they arrived in the Sunshine State, and I could not have been more thrilled to see it. 

I attended several Romney events across the state this month, in Ormond Beach, Jacksonville, Orlando, and finally The Villages last night. Each time I've enjoyed seeing a larger-than-expected crowd, full of energy and enthusiasm, but far more importantly, I've seen an energetic and enthusiastic Mitt Romney. 

Romney genuinely enjoys meeting people and after every single one of these events, he has taken some time to go along the crowd, shake hands, sign autographs, take photos, etc., all with a broad smile on his face and a bounce in his step. Campaigning for president is a wretched, stressful endeavor, and it requires someone who really, truly has his heart 100% in it. Romney does.

And don't forget Romney's debate performances last week. Gone was "auto-pilot Romney;" he was replaced with a Golden Gloves fighter, ready to jump into any ring to face his opponent. I couldn't help but think "FINALLY!" in my head. OK, this guy, this guy here tonight, looks and sounds like he is ready to go mano-a-mano with the president and give him the fight of his life.

Romney giving spirited, energetic speech. I'm telling y'all, he's solar powered. A week in the #SunshineState has been good for him #sayfieSat Jan 28 01:35:14 via Echofon

I've cracked the joke a few times that Romney seems to be "solar powered," but whether it's a new campaign strategy or the time in the Sunshine State has been good for him, Romney seems to be hitting his groove as a candidate. This has been a long, convoluted, stressful process, and I know that many of my readers will be disappointed if Romney is the nominee. Many of you may be disappointed that I decided to back him. 

I hope that all of you can see this silver lining: no matter which candidate you support, or even if your favorite candidate never ran or dropped out, this brutal primary process has already accomplished two important things: (1) it has confirmed Romney's support of a number of conservative positions, and (2) toughened him up and made him a better campaigner and fighter. Regardless of whether Romney is your candidate or not, it is highly likely that he will be our Republican nominee, and I think we can all find something positive in these developments.

For my fellow Floridians, go vote if you haven't already. Everyone, I look forward to your thoughts.

Thank you and God Bless this great country.

UPDATE: Here's some video from a rally last Friday in Orlando (3 parts):


  1. Glad you shared this. Well thought out post. I'm not entirely sure I agree with everything you wrote,but it has given me a lot to think about.

  2. Someone mentioned to me, what about Freddie Mac?

    That was actually a big stumbling block for me and part of what knocked me off track to support Gingrich. Here's a post I wrote last week about the so-called "lobbying" -


  3. Sarah - You make many of the same points I have considered, and I also came to the same conclusion. I think the key point for me is Newt's ability to work with Congress were he elected. Thanks for sharing.

  4. In my opinion, Romney is more "electable" than Gingrich because his messaging style is far more likely to get independents, moderates, and conservative Democrats to listen to our ideas. I totally disagree.

    Romney is more "electable" not because of an ability to get centrists/moderates to listen to "our" ideas, but because he pretty much already agrees with "their" ideas.

    While I agree that Obama is a cancer on America, I just cannot see the value in setting a goal of properly managing our Republic's economic collapse. And I think a Romney vote is exactly that.

    Sorry to troll. I'm grouchy.

  5. I liked your term "reformed" as opposed to flip-flop. However in Romneys case all his issues are a "flip" without a subsequent flop. Mitt has "flipped" towards greater conservatism.

    1. You are absolutely right. John Kerry was fairly criticized for flip flopping back and forth on a number of issues. It's an entirely different situation with Romney - he flipped to a more conservative position and then stayed there without flopping back. Fine by me. I think Ambassador Glendon says it best in that pro-life video I linked above.

  6. Romney is organized and he will have minimal scandals. Gingrich is a walking controversy and personal train wreck.
    Santorum is un-electable in today's America where half the country hates Christianity.
    Ron Paul understands economics better than the others combines, but fails to appreciate how truly evil 80% of the planet is.

    The make up is improving. More blush.

    What I liked about Romney is he is making the connection between the size of the federal government, as a percentage of the GDP, and the poor economic performance. I hope he is a man of his words and shrinks the federal government to 20%, 18%, and does not propose a VAT tax.

    What I do not like about Romney is one of his Treasury Secretary advisers is Bay Buchanan, a supply sider, who does not understand economics as well as she should, just the fact that she is a supply sider tells me she lacks a fundamental understanding of monetary policy and the role of the federal government/reserve in producing economic results favorable for the vast majority of citizens.

    Dan Mitchell of the CATO Institute, would have the depth of economic understanding needed to possibly bail us out of this morass we are in.

    If Romney is elected and supply side economic policies employed, without significant deflation, there would be very little gain for the middle and lower classes, the perfect scenario for the left in 2016.

    Whoever the Treasury secretary is they have to understand the importance of deleveraging and reducing the money supply if we are to have real genuine economic growth. Without this fundamental understanding of monetary policy Romney's economic policies will be hit or miss at best.

  7. This was fantastic. Thank you for posting it, I am a big fan of Romney too and went through a very similar process. (Big Daniels guy and had hope for Perry)



  8. Thank you for this post. I too am a Romney supporter, for some of the same reasons, but it is always good to listen to an intelligently articulated position, as there are often nuances that I haven't thought of.

    However, I do always laugh when I read about how much conservatives hate Romneycare. I'm a Republican who just a few months ago moved from Florida to Massachusetts. Why did I do this? I couldn't see any future for the state. I was working at a state university, watching the way that higher education was headed, what was happening with my children's public schools, etc. My family made a huge life-changing choice to move to someplace that cares about education, doesn't automatically hate every single person who has ever worked for the government in any role, and seems to really think hard about the future. My home value had dropped 40% in Florida, and we sold the house for what we owed on the mortgage and walked away with no money left over -- poorer than when we moved to Florida 10 years ago. But it is worth it to see the smile on my kid's faces when they come home and say "we LEARNED something in school today."

    But I was sure when I moved here that I would HATE Romneycare. In fact, I figured everybody in Massachusetts hated Romneycare too. Imagine my surprise when I read polls that reported that only 21% of the people in Massachusetts didn't like the new law -- fewer even than when it was first put into place. I mean really, you can get 21% of the people to hate anything -- or believe that the earth is flat. That kind of support is amazing. I would suggest that instead of a whole bunch of knee-jerk responses about Romneycare, by large groups of people who don't really know what it actually is (except that they've been told it's like Obamacare, which no one, including Obama, actually understands), one should read "No Apology", at least the chapter on what he was attempting to accomplish on health care. At least then one could argue about whether Romney's fixes to the problems have worked or not. That would be an intelligent discussion to have.

    1. Mitt has never ever wanted federal health care. In 1994 he argued against it with Ted Kennedy. He believes each state should deal with the issues on its own. I have researched all of this for 4 years. I know what happened.

      The Mass health Care came about as a result of the state having a 484 Million dollar deficit from people not paying
      Hospital Bills.

      The concept that Mitt Romney presented was written by the Conservative Heritage Foundation.

      The State Legislature which had veto proof power, added many things to it that Mitt did not agree with and he vetoed which is his power as a Governor.

      That is 1/3 the vote. He was vetoed back. Case closed. This only covered 8% of the state that was uninsured. It did not have big fines. It was 1% of the state budget and did not add any new taxes.

      It does not do away with Private Health Care. It is an alternative that helps off set the issues caused by the 8% uninsured that caused the deficit and would have led to the closing of hospitals which is happening in Arizona, where the problem is much worse.

      If you take out the 8 items Mitt Vetoed, you have a very good plan.

      It had 2 amendments added to it after he left office. People think he should apologize. Why? He presented a good plan.

      It was altered by the democratic party that had the house and senate.

      Its called states rights, and it is called due process. He did his part. He vetoed the bad parts. So why should he be ashamed.Its how Government works.

      He could have let them do what they wanted, because in the end they had the power to do so. As of 2010 the state of Massachusetts still likes the plan at a 68% approval.

      He did what he could and took them on.He vetoed them 844 times in his term and was vetoed back 700 times. He was a fighter. So why should he apologize. His 844 Vetoes were also all conservative.

      And there is more to this, President Bush was going to cut other medical benefits totally 400 million if they did not insure more people. It was a mess in which he did the best he could having 2/3rds liberal legislature against him

      That is what happened

      Here he is in 1994 debate... go to the 3:40 mark and Mitt is greatly against FEDERAL HEALTH CARE


    2. I am amazed that anyone thinks Rick Perry was an alternative. I have yet to even find one conservative thing about him. He doubled spending, was warned of huge deficits in the budgets which he ignored until it took place. He really has been a bad Governor. Highest poverty in the United States.

      Mitch Daniels is a weak individual with pretty bad leadership skills. He is too mamby pamby.

  9. I have studied Mitt Romney for 4 years. i have compared his Governing with the Governing of Reagan in another liberal state. Mitts record is much much better. As a matter of fact it is not close.
    Mitt Romney is every bit as conservative as Reagan was.

    Romney is common sense. He is also smarter than Gingrich.It just doesn't matter to him that you think he is. Humble man.

    Have you ever looked at Mitts 844 vetos...all conservative

    He is against cap and trade
    strong on immigration as he defunded sanctuary cities as Gov

    He downsized Government, cut 341 social programs to balance the budget

    Fought hard for pro life issues

    took his state from 50th in unemployment to 11th in his term

    left it with a 2 billion dollar slush fund

    Is against federal mandates. Personally, given his Private business accomplishments..I think he will prove to be better than Ronald Reaagan

  10. An article that echos what I have been saying

    The temperament is there, as is the natural appeal of a friendly, modest, handsome leader.

    I'm hoping Republicans will soon wake up, stop fighting among themselves, and realize that Mitt Romney has the best chance of becoming the nation's next Ronald Reagan.

    Everybody remembers Reagan for his single-mindedness in cutting federal spending and taking the government out of the central position in everyone's life. What they forget is that it was Reagan's temperament that made all this possible.

    Think back to Reagan's famous rejoinder to Jimmy Carter in their first and only debate, "There you go again!" What was the significance of that? Carter had just finish a long, beady-eyed recitation about national health insurance, which, he said, promised "not inpatient care but outpatient care" with "an emphasis on hospital cost containment," and how Candidate Reagan, of course, was opposed to all this because he had opposed Medicare in 1964. Reagan stood shaking his head and laughing the whole time and when it finally came his turn, he sighed, "There you go again."

    The audience laughed and why not? Carter's expressionless, robot-like recitation typified his whole presidency. He was obsessed with details. Reagan's genial response was that when he opposed Medicare in 1964 it was because he favored another piece of congressional legislation that relied less on government. But in a single moment, Reagan had also revealed Carter as a narrow-minded pedant while he was an affable, good-natured leader capable of keeping things in perspective. Voters liked what they saw and that ended Carter's Presidency.

    Mitt Romney has a very similar temperament. In fact he had a "There-you-go-again" moment in the last debate when Rick Santorum launched into his inevitable fulmination about how Romney will never be able to debate President Obama on Obamacare because of Romneycare. Romney gave his usual rejoinder but then added, "It's nothing to get angry about." That's the kind of perspective a President needs.

    Santorum, you must admit, is a pretty disagreeable individual. He spends the opening portion of every debate congratulating himself on having been at the center of everything good that's happened in Washington for the last twenty years. Then halfway through he will turn on whoever happens to be the frontrunner and launch an eye-gouging attack, talking out of the side of his mouth and casting sidelong glances all the while to see how far he can bait his chosen target. There is an air of bitterness and grievance about Santorum that is hard to take. cont...

  11. part 2: President Obama has a similar air of grievance and issue obsession that will make him equally vulnerable in debate. If there's one candidate who can throw this into relief over the course of a campaign the way Reagan did with Carter, it's Romney. Let's face it, he's an attractive guy. A natural leader, he's been very successful and has a lovely and courageous (and only) wife, plus a big photogenic family. All this is bound to start growing on people. The New York Times ran some pictures of him with his wife and young family back at Harvard Business School and there was a definite Kennedyesque feel about them. People are going to start responding to him on a personal basis.

    Now of course there's the Mormon thing and you can count on the Democrats to flail away at that. An early Politico report said Obama planned to characterize Romney as "weird," with Mormonism as the implicit centerpiece. I doubt this is going to work. Americans are willing to try new things. That's how we got Obama in the first place. Romney will be intriguing precisely because he represents another frontier -- the first non-Protestant the Republicans have ever nominated for President.

    The Mormons were indeed a violent and divisive sect in the 19th century but since giving up polygamy in 1890 they have become just another fundamentalist group looking for a place in American history. It's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, remember, that gave us that stirring arrangement of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (the one we sang in high school). Mormons now lead exemplary moral, often highly prosperous lives. They are very big in the Boy Scouts. In my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, Mormon missionaries had started several Boy Scout troops in African-American neighborhoods and even adopted one young man after his original family fell apart. cont:

  12. part 3:Romney definitely has that straight-arrow feeling about him, but even that may work as people realize it is still possible to lead moral lives in America. His most formative experience, however, has been as a CEO, where he apparently learned his executive style. Except for a few square-offs with Rick Perry, Romney's demeanor during the debates has been collegial and inclusive. That's why he shows that deer-in-the-headlights look when the others first started attacking him. "Why are you going after me?" he seems to say. "Aren't we supposed to be going after President Obama?" He's learned to fight back, which is good, but there is still a definite modesty about him. Watch him when he's giving a speech and the crowd starts chanting "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" He falls back into an ingenuous smile and seems to say, "Is this really happening? Do they like me this much? "

    All the other Republican candidates are the exact opposite. Santorum has a very narrow mind. He'd make a terrible leader, locking into doctrinaire stands and picking fights. He's a Senator, not a President.

    Ron Paul is the same only at a different order of magnitude. Paul enjoys being outside the tent pissing in, if you don't mind the expression. I doubt he could find twelve people in the whole country with whom he could agree enough to form a cabinet. Like so many libertarians, he takes pride in how much he can offend people. As President, he's sit in the Oval Office disagreeing with everyone in Washington, as he's done for the past 30 years.

    Newt is the same thing over again -- the perpetual insider posing as a victim of the Washington elites. He would launch his administration with all the grandeur of Napoleon invading Russia but overlook some critical detail that would leave him in full retreat by the following winter. Probably he would decide that history dictates we put a colony on the moon and then spend the rest of his administration arguing about it with Congress.

  13. cont: Now I know what people are going to say: "But that's exactly what we want. Romney would just go down and get along with everyone in Washington and nothing would change. We need someone who's going to shake things up from top to bottom." But that's not how Reagan did it. He didn't pick fights. He did a few photo-ops with Tip O'Neill, the only Democrat with any authority. Reagan won with an agenda and a first-class temperament. I have no doubt Romney can do the same.Critics will argue Romney doesn't have Reagan's ideological commitment, but experience in the private sector brings you to the same place. Anyone who can do simple math knows this country is headed off a cliff and anyone who's tried to operate a business knows government regulation is strangling free enterprise. Mitt has the same Reaganesque ambitions as the other candidates. What he doesn't share is their sense of bitterness and exclusion.

    Much of this comes, no doubt, from his fortunate background. He did go to Cranbrook, the premier prep school of the Detroit area and started at Stanford. But there's a great deal of Midwestern modesty in him as well, reminiscent of Dwight Eisenhower. Historians have pointed out that all the generals under Eisenhower in the European theater harbored huge egos. There was the imperial Lord Mountbatten, the flamboyant General Patton and the GI's favorite, Omar Bradley. Had Eisenhower been another swashbuckler, the whole staff might have disintegrated into a boiling cauldron of competition. But as a modest Midwestern farm boy, he was able to hold the whole thing together. He didn't make a bad President, either.

  14. cont: (Page 2 of 2)

    Romney has the same qualities. Whereas Newt would make a great General Douglas MacArthur, ready to challenge everyone else's authority, Romney obviously prefers to organize without putting himself out front. He lets others have their say. His one great weakness is that he doesn't yet seem to have the common touch. He still looks uncomfortable in crowds and can't seem to relate to people who don't share his background. Maybe the trip from Cranbrook to Cranford NJ isn't that easy. But I'd be surprised if he doesn't get better during the campaign.

    As Jimmy Carter would ultimately discover, this election will not be decided by who can memorize the longest list of talking points. It's going to be won by the candidate who voters feel most comfortable having in their living rooms. Obama passed the test in 2008. He was young and fresh and seemed to have a level head while McCain appeared old and tired. It was a fairly easy choice. But the President won't have those advantages this time around. After four years of mismanaging the economy, he won't be able to talk hope and change. His only option will be to go negative, portraying Romney as a rich boy who doesn't care about anyone who doesn't have money. That may work for a while but at some point people are going to want to hear something positive. At that point they will start listening to Romney. If he sounds like Reagan, they will find him an attractive and plausible alternative.

  15. finally: Romney is something we haven't seen for a while in America -- a benevolent family man. He's the well-meaning father who knows how to do the right thing even if he can't always express himself. Liberals are beginning to notice this and feel uneasy. Last week the New Republic ran a cover photo of him taken within three inches of his face that made him look like King Kong. Frank Rich has started harping on Mormonism, showing that religious bigotry is not dead in America. New York Times columnist Gail Collins is morally certain the public will turn on Romney once they perceive the true significance of the dog-tied-on-top-the-car. To her, Romney is capable of tying pregnant women to railroad tracks. But the public may see it as just another amusing episode of Father Knows Best.

    And just listen to this indictment from Times contributor Lee Siegel, who calls Romney "the whitest white man to run for president in years."

    He is nearly always in immaculate white shirt sleeves. He is implacably polite, tossing off phrases like "oh gosh" with Stepford bonhomie. He has mastered Benjamin Franklin's honesty as the "best policy"… He speaks of the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence as phases of national creativity that we are destined to live through again. He frequently accompanies his recitative with verses from "America the Beautiful."

    Who would ever want to vote for a candidate like that?

  16. http://checkthafacts.blogspot.com/2012/02/rick-santorums-voting-recordare-you.html

    I would not vote for Santorum either


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